A new beginning hopefully spells c-h-a-m-p-i-o-n-s-h-i-p.
Tony Gonzalez: The NFL's all-time leading receiver for tight ends. That guy. He will now be catching passes from Matt Ryan and blocking for Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood. It's pretty obvious how much better Gonzalez makes the Falcons, but how much better, exactly?
Let's start with what a tight end does. He blocks on running plays and he catches balls on intermediate routes that gain between four to eight yards, over the middle usually, and creates short down situations.
That's just for starters. If these short passes continually work, the defense will try to make adjustments by bringing their linebackers in more and their safeties up. This leads to one-on-one coverage for the wide receivers, which opens up Roddy White for deep passes (if he can consistently catch them).
If the deep passing game gets going, then those linebackers and safeties have to start drifting back a little, which lets the running game get going or allows Gonzalez to make a difference again. You see, Gonzalez completes the cycle.
The Falcons were using Ben Hartstock as a tight end last season. They virtually never even used the tight end as a check down option. Now he will be a main option. Matt Ryan has all the tools around him to go get it done. Now he just has to.
The offense is set to go. Mike Peterson has been added to the linebacker core on defense and the Falcons addressed defense in the draft, but they still need to make some more moves in the secondary if they want to be considered serious contenders.